July 30, 2018

Mending the Melrose Quilt

This quilt has been on a magical journey of rediscovery.

It was sent to me for repairs a few years ago.  When I told the owner that I'd poked around on ancestry.com and had found some of the names that were written on it, she most graciously gifted me the quilt so I could continue finding its history!  She is an author and historian and has been really happy that the quilt's story is resurfacing.  Turns out, she is Jane Anderson, the person who wrote the screenplay for the movie "How to Make an American Quilt." Honestly, this quilt repair biz has taken me down some pretty amazing paths!

I since have identified about 2/3 of the people named, and located the quilt in time and space: Melrose, MA - probably 1897-8.  You can read about the process in earlier posts, and the resulting exhibits here and here.  (A full list of links is below.)

The next step in the quilt's journey was a chance contact with Alanna Nelson, a textile lover and event planner who lives right there in Melrose, when she just happened to order my quilt repair book.  She has since been making plans for a "homecoming" celebration of the quilt in December 2018, with exhibits, programs, participation by local quilt guilds and local historians, etc., etc.  And, she put me in touch with the genealogist at the Melrose Library, who has shared records that the library holds that helped identify even more people.

The venue for the exhibits requires that the quilt be appraised for insurance during the event.  My appraiser friend, Sherry Branson, said I should do the repairs before bringing it to her.  So after being with me for three years, the quilt has finally been repaired!  Hee, hee!

Here are details of the repair process.  I found myself going through the same assessment process that I ask my customers to consider.  Not surprising, but I kept chuckling to myself, thinking - oh, so this is what it feels like.

July 17, 2018

Saving a Damaged Heirloom Quilt

It's always both sad and wonderful when someone brings me a beloved family quilt that has, well, seen better days, but is still quite full of meaning and sentiment.  What to do?  Often there is lots of fabric damage, and sometimes tears and holes through all three layers of the quilt.  A full-out restoration would cost a whole bunch, maybe more than the owner can afford - but I think there's a bigger issue when it's the sentiment that counts.  Having a quilt end up with as much or maybe even more of my stitches than ancestral stitches just doesn't make sense. 

Here is a solution I have devised for giving a such a quilt enough support and stabilization to let the family handle and enjoy it more safely. 

July 10, 2018

The Rescue of an Heirloom Child's Quilt

This was one of those times when repairing a quilt was all about saving family history and sweet memories.

Here's the email message that introduced me to the quilt:
"I discovered my husband's baby blanket. It's survived 4 children. We are retired military and we have little that has not been lost or ruined from our many moves over 21yrs. Besides the blanket I have only 3 pics of my husband's from his childhood. It would mean a lot to him and me if someone of your skill level could help restore this precious gift."

The owners of this quilt sent me some photos before sending the quilt, so I could get a general idea of what would be needed and give them a general idea of the cost.  It was pretty wrinkled up, but I wasn't concerned, since people often don't spend lots of time taking perfect photos.  Mostly I was looking at the torn squares and open seams.

July 8, 2018

Summer Trees, Summer Skies, and a Visual Puzzle

I take photos nearly daily as a kind of mindfulness, meditative practice.  "Stay here, stay present."  I've collected some tree photos I really like and share them here.  The final one is a puzzle!

I especially love this color combination - steely blue-grey storm clouds moving on to the east, with afternoon sun reappearing in the west, shining on bright green leaves.  This is the view from my front door.  I take this shot often in changing light and sky.  Living across the street from a park is the best.